"Skeleton School" Outreach Introduces STEM to Preschoolers


Posted: August 7, 2023

Skeleton School

SRI leader and Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Devina Purmessur-Walter is working to engage budding engineers at an early age.  She believes that early exposure to engineering can help foster a lifelong interest in the field. Using funding from her National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, Dr. Purmessur-Walter is working in collaboration with Ohio State’s Child Care Program to engage young learners. 

Through a program called Skeleton School, Devina is teaching preschool children how exercise and movement influence skeletal tissues and joints.  “We hope the topics will be fun and get the children excited and engaged about skeletons, science and engineering, which is our main goal.”  She goes on to say, “Once we have established this program at Ohio State, our long-term goal is to reach out and engage more broadly with local Columbus city school communities.”

Preschool students learn how the muscular skeletal system functions throughout their time at Skeleton School.  The program focuses on bones and joints, what they are, why they are important, and how things like exercise and proper diet can help to keep them healthy. Faculty engage the children with a variety of media types and hands-on activities, including show and tell, puzzles, and songs.  They even have the students create their own models from cardboard, paper, and plastic.

In 2022, Dr. Purmusser-Walter received a five-year, $568,000 CAREER award for her research on novel methods of mechanically regulated cellular communication in the spinal column. The CAREER award is the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of both.

This news was adapted from an original article from the Department of Biomedical Engineering